You’ve made your gift list and planned your Christmas shopping budget. You’ve looked at your calendar to time your purchases. You’ve shopped around for the best prices. But you still have a problem: You have that one person on your list who already has everything. What gift do you get that person for Christmas?
We celebrate Thanksgiving as a special day set aside for giving thanks to God for His wonderful blessings. Most of us have longstanding traditions around Thanksgiving. Many of us will travel to be with family and others will host family members traveling to spend time with us. For most, Thanksgiving is a festive and happy time. For some, the holiday is a reminder of loneliness and emptiness, filled with sadness instead of joy.
Let’s take an honest look at how we actually spend the day. While we call it Thanksgiving, do we really spend the day in an attitude of thanks, meditating on the provisions from God that He freely gives us? Other than the typical extended prayer of thanks offered around the dinner table, I wonder just how much more devotion we give to giving thanks.
It’s Halloween! Tonight, children from all around the neighborhood and beyond will be knocking on our door and asking us for a treat. We plan to be there to grant them their request.
As in every year, we have seen the commercial buildup to this day from manufacturers and retailers alike. We have shopped around to get the best prices and values on traditional candies guaranteed to frustrate many parents while delighting the kids. We even made a weak attempt to carve a pumpkin.
As usual, I have seen the banter about Christians participating in such a day. There are those who argue that Christians must avoid any and all participation, for such would be mingling with the evil that corrupts young minds. Others see no harm in participation in the Halloween festivities. We choose to take the occasion of Halloween to engage people for Christ and with the Word of light and salvation.
Our small group is full of wonderful people who have great ideas. One of our couples decided a few years ago to create an Pumpkin Party for their grandchildren. On the designated night, the grandchildren (I think there are 11) would bring their parents for pumpkin carving, costume contests, pinata, and grilling. Since they started this party tradition, they have enlarged it by inviting friends and colleagues with their children and grandchildren.
Sometimes things go wrong. The sweet little child you brought into the world is nearly grown and has made a terrible choice. And you go into a tailspin. You’ve done your best to raise your child and disciple him. From birth, you have taught him about Jesus and to pray. Every child rebels at some time to some degree, and you pray that you are prepared for that. After all, you can remember times of your own rebellion.
Now, at seventeen with his whole life ahead of him, you get the phone call, or you have the conversation you aren’t prepared for. For whatever reason, your child made a terrible choice. What do you do now?